Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is staying sharp as he looks for his next team.
The Cowboys parted ways with Elliott on March 15, bringing an end to his seven-season tenure with the team. There hasn’t been a ton of reported interest on the free agent market but Elliott’s trainer, Josh Hicks, is making sure the former rushing leader is ready for when the next team calls.
Hicks shared a video of Elliott doing some footwork drills and the three-time Pro Bowler looked sharp and healthy.
Elliott Had Dealt With Injuries, Drop in Production
Elliott’s production has dropped in recent years and he’s coming off his worst season as a pro. He rushed for 876 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns last year. However, he managed just 3.8 yards per carry.
Elliott was set to count $16.7 million against the salary cap with a $10.9 million non-guaranteed base salary. By releasing him, the Cowboys saved nearly $11 million against the cap, which has helped them to make some impactful moves in free agency and through trades.
Elliott’s health has been an issue over the last few seasons. He played through a partially-torn PCL in 2021 and missed some time last season with a knee injury as well. While Elliott isn’t the 300-carry workhorse back he once was, he can still be an elite short-yardage back for a team in need of a veteran running back.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been circled as a landing spot, as have the Los Angeles Chargers, who have ex-Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore calling plays.
Releasing Ezekiel Elliott Not Easy Decision for Cowboys
Elliott’s production might have dropped but his presence in the locker room was still a steady force for the Cowboys. Considering what he had meant to the franchise since being drafted, it wasn’t an easy decision for Dallas to part ways with Zeke, although financially it made sense considering his cap hit and Tony Pollard receiving the franchise tag.
One of Elliott’s closest friends on the team was quarterback Dak Prescott, who was sad to see him go.
“I really can’t imagine taking the field without him,” Prescott said Thursday, according to The Athletic. “I don’t know if it’s completely hit me yet. Obviously, I’ve talked to him. I’m hurt. I’m sure he is.”
Owner Jerry Jones was also very fond of Elliott, which he expressed multiple times last season and prior to that. He penned an emotional goodbye to Elliott following the move, expressing that he’ll always have a “special place” in Cowboys’ history.
“This is one of the toughest parts of operating a team,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, in part, in a statement Wednesday. “Moments like this come, and extremely difficult decisions and choices are made. For the franchise. For me personally. For players too. We will always have a special place and love for Zeke and what he means to our Cowboys family, both as a person and a player. That will never change.”
On top of Pollard, the Cowboys have also signed former Kansas City Chiefs and Bucs running back Ronald Jones.
We’ve seen this movie before, waiting for the one where Zeke outruns the Speedy Rubbermaid Trash Cans!